Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New York Times's Papercuts & The Idler's Glossary

Over at the New York Times blog Papercuts Jenny Schuessler recommends "the deadbeat dictionary," our very own Idler's Glossary. This book should be on the shelf just about everywhere in Canada this week, and at the better independents in the US (B&N and Borders, at this moment, have thus far proved a bit intransigent. In a country threatened with mass unemployment, you'd figure they'd see the possibility in a book which would help readers make a virtue out of necessity.) It's also available many places online, including McNally Robinson, Indigo, and that bookselling site named after a vastly depleted tropical rainforest. For a few who might want to buy direct, I have copies signed by all three contributors -- Seth, Mark Kingwell & Joshua Glenn.

I have launch photos, which I'll try and get up by day's end.

October 14, 2008, 10:11 am

The Deadbeat’s Dictionary

Just in time for the return of mass unemployment (kidding! right?), the Canadian publisher Biblioasis has released “The Idler’s Glossary,” Joshua Glenn and Mark Kingwell’s vocabulary-expanding manual for the bootless, malingering and lotus-eating types among us.

(Sorry, I meant “among you.” Everyone here works very hard. Especially on Tuesday morning.)

Idler's Glossary

Kingwell, a professor of philosophy and a contributing editor at Harper’s, kicks things off with a passionate defense of slackery that cites everyone from Kierkegaard and Kingsley Amis to Bataille, Bartleby and Bingo Little. (Look it up.)

Glenn — a rather industrious sort who according to his bio has worked as a skateboard messenger, house painter, espresso jerk, barrel washer (huh?), blogger, Boston Globe columnist and founder of the philosophy ‘zine Hermenaut, among other things — provides the A to Z part. There are also great illustrations by Gregory Gallant, the comic artist otherwise known as Seth.

This one gives the salty flavor:

BOONDOGGLE. Given the pointlessness of today’s Boy Scouts, it’s appropriate that this term, coined by an American scoutmaster to describe the braided leather lanyard made and worn by Scouts, has come to mean any time-killing or useless activity — particularly when performed by a sluggard on the public payroll. NB: The sociologist Robert K. Merton once claimed that the intellectuals whose work lacks immediate practical application may suffer from the “boondoggling neurosis.” See: DODGER, WHILE AWAY THE HOURS.

And aspirants to chillaxery and Skimpole-hoold may be interested in this:

LUBBERLAND. From a 1685 broadside ballad titled “An Invitation to Lubberland,” we learn of an imaginary country where “There is all sorts of Fowl and Fish,/ With Wine and store of Brandy;/ Ye hae there what your hearts can wish:/ The Hills are Sugar-Candy.” See: BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN, COCKAIGNE.

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